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Ont. drought-tolerance genetics licensed for cotton

An Ontario biotech firm has licensed its drought-tolerance genetics to Bayer CropScience for the development of new cotton varieties.

The agreement announced Tuesday between Bayer and Performance Plants of Kingston gives Bayer exclusive licensing for development and commercialization of cotton using Performance Plants’ Yield Protection Technology, or YPT.

The agreement follows “several years of successful field trials” in which YPT genetics were shown to be “highly effective in preserving yields under conditions of drought stress.”

In five years of field trials, Performance Plants said, YPT canola has produced consistent seed yield increases of up to 26 per cent.

“We are pleased that Bayer CropScience will now extend these results to cotton, a crop whose yield is frequently limited by insufficient rainfall,” Performance Plants CEO Peter Matthewman said in a release. “This agreement is further validation of the commercial potential of our traits.”

Performance Plants, founded in 1995, operates development facilities at Kingston and Saskatoon and at Waterloo, N.Y., and specializes in gene discovery and commercial crop development for the food and biofuel markets.

“We anticipate that Performance Plants’ innovative YPT will contribute to further strengthening our leadership position in the global cotton market, especially with regard to ensuring higher yields in difficult climatic conditions,” said Linda Trolinder, global manager for cotton research and development at BioScience, a Bayer business unit, in the same release.

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